Near death experience or just another taxi ride…

Although I verge on the drama queen for this, my first experience of taxis in this part of the world has certainly been an interesting one.  Let me first start with the general state of cars in this country.  Myanmar has had a bunch of restrictive laws in place which stem the flow imported vehicles.  This is changing but the result in the country has been that there large numbers of semi-functioning boxes on wheels that pass as cars.  with some notable exceptions most of the taxis are in poorer condition than an open sardine can that lost it’s little key thing to do the deed.

Having said all that the taxi drivers dream of grander things.  To them these cars are driven like they are F1 race cars, or perhaps more like how a beginner drives a Super Mario Kart.   Regardless of the amount of water on the road they drive like they need to come in pole position or make a high score…  Amazingly I’ve yet to see an accident, or remarkably observe many dents in vehicles.  Rome has more dented cars in it than here even though the average age of the cars here is about 30yrs older than those in Italy’s capital.

What’s more amazing is how anyone manages to see out of the windows at night in the rain.  Ever been in a car whose wipers leave a trail on the wind shield?  The wipers here seem to add to the effect of rain by more evenly spreading the water over the area directly in front of the driver.  It seems to add to the illusion of the grater functioning of the car as in this particular case, the driver decided that the street lights in the centre of the road, dotted along it’s length at regular intervals, where there to recreate a downhill slalom course.  Of course they are.. why else would there be no central reservation?!

All being said they are pretty much the only viable form of transportation for me as I don’t really fancy riding a bike in the city, motorbikes are banned, and the local “buses” are really a human impression of said sardine can… with the lid still on.  They’re not all that bad though and are reasonable in cost, about 2,500MMK (3USD) for a 10-15min ride (3km or so).  Although  I feel I should haggle more…  but generally they’re relatively fair but push it about 500-1000MMK, so no need to halve what they initially say.


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